by Lisaandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Northeast Consortium announced this Thursday the suspension of the contract for the acquisition of 37 million doses of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19 Sputnik V, pointing to the limitations imposed by Anvisa for the use of the immunizing agent in Brazil and the decision of the Ministry of Health not to use it.
Sputnik V has only a limited import authorization given by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to the nine states that signed a contract with the Russians.
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The agency authorized the import of approximately 4 million doses that could be used in Brazil, on a limited basis, as long as the States signed a commitment to carry out studies to verify the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and gather data that, to date, the manufacturer –Institute Gamaleya– did not supply, according to Anvisa.
In addition, all Sputnik batches arriving in Brazil would have to be tested by the National Institute for Quality Control in Health (INCQS), of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in order to verify their safety and efficacy.
In June, Anvisa approved the import of Sputnik with 22 conditions. At the time, the decision was celebrated by the governors, who accepted the commitment. However, so far, only four of the nine states have signed the term.
A source accompanying the process told Reuters that state governments, which began negotiating directly with the Russians for the delivery of documents and information necessary for the studies, also began to have difficulties in receiving them, which would be preventing the beginning of studies.
The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, has already stated that the federal government does not intend to include Sputnik V in the PNI as there is no longer any need, since the country already has contracts for the acquisition of sufficient vaccines among those that already have authorization for use in the Brazil. With that, the total cost of importation would be for the states only.
According to the statement from the Northeast Consortium, the 37 million doses initially directed to Brazil will now be sent by Russia to Argentina, Mexico and Bolivia.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), responsible for marketing Sputnik V abroad, said in a statement that the Northeastern states are still committed to buying the vaccine, and denied that the doses planned for Brazil will be destined for other countries.
According to RDIF, the consortium reaffirmed that the relationship with the Russian fund “continues to be established in accordance with the signed contract and that it will continue working to bring the Sputnik V vaccine to Brazil.”
(Additional reporting by Anthony BoadleEdition by Pedro Fonseca)
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